MY Hines

The 2000s are already history?

Posted on: December 30, 2009

I have gotten several links and tweets about the decade in review. I’ve seen news stations report that it was the “decade to forget” or the “worst decade”. Yes, in some senses it was a horrible decade – but that counts on what you are specifically looking at in the decade. I read this post by Ryan Gibbons and Glen Pfeiffer that made me think about things away from the “decade to forget” and more about the trends that have happened with technology since 2000.

I think it is important for reference to know where I was when 2000 started. I was an intern while I student at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work. When I was that intern, I did not plan on going into technology. I wanted to be a fundraiser or a grant writer or something with social work. That younger version of me never expected to be a Technology Director by 2010.  My first day of my internship I was given a Y2K disk and told to learn who the staff were by installing the software. My fate was sealed at that first computer I installed the software on.

Here I am, almost exactly 10 years later and I have seen so many trends come and go. As the post I cited above, in 2000, there was no iPod. That thought alone is difficult to remember because I can’t live without my iPod. Facebook? That wasnt until 2004.  I have also noticed several trends that I want to share with everyone that I have noticed in th past decade, because simply, they are interesting to me!

The Rise of Terminal Server – When I was working in the middle of the decade, or around 2004, we first started to explore using Terminal Server to connect offices together to our network. It was seen as “cutting edge” and some people were completely against not having a full machine (some are STILL against it today). I did not know of many others in our region using Terminal Server. In fact, many technical people commented things like “why are you going back in technology to dumb terminals – isn’t that a step backwards?” The point that it was more cost effective didn’t seem to stand ground. Now, in 2009, I can tell you, the terminal server is here to stay – and I still haven’t need to roll everyone out onto Citrix. I guess it’s kind of like fashion – everything that is old is now new again. If bell bottoms came back, it makes sense that “dumb terminals” made a come back.

Web 2.0/Social Networks (i.e. How can you NOT have a Facebook account?) – When it became a goal of my department to assist and train staff on Facebook, that was a huge sign that this trend isn’t going away. There are pros and cons to any trend and I see them every day (such as Pandora being very bad for terminal server). But until I had heard Holly Ross from NTEN speak at TechNow in 2008, I was 100% against doing any “agency wide” Facebook or something like that. But the reality from Holly that if you don’t do it yourself, someone else would do it for you, brought my reality to me quickly. I’m a control freak and I would have the control than to hand the control over to anyone else. Since then, full speed ahead with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all other things. Makes me wonder what Web 3.0 will be?

It’s in a Cloud – So this is a trend that I haven’t completely bought into. Cloud computing does have a place and situation and it is going to help out so many nonprofits – when the board and management are committed to it. However, some boards and management are going to be scared about giving the documents up to other people. As I have admitted, I’m a control freak – so my investment in the cloud computing trend will be with creating my own cloud that I control. If my cloud has a thunderstorm – it will only be my cloud having the storm. I like the control and that has been driving by management decisions. As long as my cloud doesn’t become a hurricane, I’m in good shape.

Easy, Shmeasy Personal Technology – I think as technology has become more mainstream, it has allowed people who don’t always get technology get more technology tools without knowing anything about them. While this is great – I’m never against technology use growing – it does create a whole set of challenges of helping someone who might not even know what they are using. It also blurs the line of what is the “agency” equipment and what is the “personal” equipment. USB drives are a great example of this. There is one specific generation of USB drives that has software preinstalled on the USB drive that just makes them inoperable with our terminal server. I never buy those USB drives, but someone might bring one in from home and wonder why it doesn’t work. When they don’t understand technology it becomes difficult to explain this situation. It will just keep us hopping in the Tech Department for years to come.

SharePoint = Collaboration at a Centralized Location – I’m waiting for a SharePoint Portal Upgrade. I cannot wait to get it done. I want it right now. I’m looking forward to expanding what we hae already done on SharePoint Services 3.0 and making it even bigger and badder. It is going to be a great new tool and moving away from all these shared network drives that dot the letters in the alphabet (there is a P drive, a G drive, and S drive — and that’s just for us while another agency has the X drive and the K drive). I’ll be happy to have webaddresses to share on the intranet. Thanks to plenty of webinars and blogs (like Dux’s), I’m ready for this trend to continue to grow!

I could probably go on and on about trends – because if one trend ends, another one starts. It’s just the nature of trends. Do you know of other trends? Do you want to share? I look forward to seeing your comments!

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